VESTAL, NY – Some holiday shoppers found a familiar face ringing the bell for the Salvation Army outside the Vestal Walmart today.

State Senator Fred Akshar and a member of his staff joined Salvation Army Captain Joe Hansen today to collect donations in the red kettle.

The campaign, which is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser, is behind its goal this year, due in large part to a lack of bell ringing volunteers.

Akshar says that during his two hours ringing today, they took in a large number of donations as well as a few testimonials.

“We’ve had several people stop and give first-hand accounts of how the Salvation Army helped them as children when their upbringing or their parents weren’t able to give them the things that they needed and the Salvation Army stepped in in a very big way and ensured that they had the things that they need,” he says.

Akshar will be back out ringing the bell again tomorrow outside of the Sam’s Club in Vestal.

The Salvation Army has kettles in fourteen local locations.

Hours are 10 AM to 7 PM.

If you’re interested in volunteering, you can sign up at

The red kettle campaign concludes on Christmas Eve.